This week on Top Chef we saw the thrilling conclusion of restaurant wars, that perennial Top Chef challenge in which the chefs take a break from food and suddenly get judged on things like interior design and the competence of their staff. I exaggerate slightly, but is this anyone elseâ€™s least favorite challenge? Donâ€™t get me wrong, itâ€™s good television and everything, itâ€™s just that I always feel like Iâ€™ve stumbled into Hellâ€™s Kitchen.
Itâ€™s all dramatic music and people fighting and shots of blurry customers. It stresses me out!
Thereâ€™s a certain kind of escapism that comes from watching someone get judged solely for the texture of their risotto. Restaurant Wars is lots more interpersonal politics and economic realities and people yelling at each other and someone getting blamed for someone elseâ€™s mistakes, and another person losing a promotion because they didnâ€™t toot their own horn enough. TOO REAL. Give me Tom Colicchio balling someone out for overly toothsome canapĂ©s any day.
On the plus side, after a whole season of missed sex pun opportunities, about juicy meat and Niniâ€™s spicy box, Padma finally released her inner pervert and acknowledged the euphemistic value of a custard with â€śa nice jiggle.â€ť Thank God. Own your brand, Padma. And that brand is being an elegant supermodel and brilliant cosmopolitan author who is not above a â€śthatâ€™s what she said.â€ť Padma can say â€śthatâ€™s what she saidâ€ť with only her eyes.
By the way, was it too much to ask to find some servers and hosts who know who Padma is? First, a hostess asked her â€śwhatâ€™s the reservation under?â€ť Really? Imagine not knowing this was a famous chick:
Thatâ€™s the jacket equivalent of being carried in on a litter. Later, Sara asked a waiter if he knew which one Padma was and he admitted that he didnâ€™t. Hmm, probably the seven-foot tall one sitting on a jewel-encrusted sedan? Or perhaps the only one at the table who clearly hails from the subcontinent? I feel like this is low-level process of elimination here.
Eddie number one?! Believe it. No, he didnâ€™t â€świnâ€ť this episode, an honor that went to Brian, for Brianâ€™s front of the house management and chicken ballotine, which easily overshadowed Eddieâ€™s â€śforgotten crudoâ€ť in the appetizer round. But letâ€™s not forget: Eddie was the one who actually cooked the ballotine. And itâ€™s not like Brian invented chicken ballotine, the cooking part is kind of the whole deal, no?
Then, in the entree round, judge Nilou Motamed said â€śEddieâ€™s puree eats like magicâ€ť which is something Iâ€™ve always dreamed of a woman saying about me. Eddie has been just off the lead for a bunch of challenges in a row now, and it looks like heâ€™s on the verge of sewing his pinky back on and really taking charge of this competition.